While Tesla doesn’t make any commercials itself, it has often been the target of other automakers’ commercials.
Now we get another example of it as GM takes a swipe at Tesla in its latest Cadillac commercial.
Previous examples include Nissan releasing an “attack ad” against Tesla’s reservation process for the Model 3 in 2016 and just a few months later, BMW tried to convince Tesla Model 3 reservation holders to buy the 3 Series plug-in with a series of commercials.
GM is now also taking swipe at Tesla in its latest commercial – albeit in a more subtle way than Nissan and BMW.
The company’s Cadillac brand has been coming out with a new series of commercials called ‘Future is Here’.
In one of those commercials, the automaker is showcasing ‘Super Cruise’, Cadillac’s driver assist system competing with Tesla’s Autopilot, and in the ad, GM shows the Cadillac CT6 passing by a Tesla Model S as they state “the first true hands-free driving system for the freeway.”
Here’s the video:
I am sure that Tesla loves the fact that other automakers feel that they need to take swipes at them in their own commercials when they themselves don’t do any commercials.
To be clear, Tesla does promotional videos and it had that fan-made commercial contest last year, but the automaker doesn’t pay to have commercials on TV, like this new commercial from Cadillac which is running on TV right now.
Just like when Samsung takes a dig at Apple in their marketing, I feel like Cadillac lost the moment when they felt like they needed to address Tesla when marketing Super Cruise.
But with this said, GM has a point that it has the first “hands-free driving system for the freeway” since unlike GM, Tesla asks drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel when using Autopilot.
While it’s riskier, GM still requires the driver’s attention and even monitors it. It results in less “nagging” than the current version of the Autopilot, which is one of the biggest complaints of Tesla owners.
As for the actual performance of the systems, they are both very different. On the highway, they perform very similarly, but Super Cruise can not be activated in as many situations as Tesla’s Autopilot.
Tesla relies on a computer vision technology powered by a neural net combined with high-precision maps that are being gathered by the company’s own customer fleet of several hundreds of thousands of vehicles.
GM’s Super Cruise works with maps gathered by separate mapping vehicles using lidar sensors and therefore, its Super Cruise-equipped vehicles can only work where they have mapped the environment.
With this said, it’s not like GM has only mapped a few highways. It is extensively mapping the roads in the US and Canada and it says that all interstates have already been mapped.
On the other hand, Tesla is also consistently making Autopilot better as we saw with the latest update.
GM is talking about software updates to disable Super Cruise when there are areas under construction, but it’s not clear if they will be able to update the performance of the system through over-the-air software updates.
Either way, it’s nice to see some friendly competition on the driver assist system front.
On another note, what’s the deal with removing the badging on Tesla? It’s not like they are fooling anyone.